Proverbs 29

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

October 27, 2004

:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

reprovedtowkechah – rebuke, correction, reproof, punishment, chastisement

hardenethqashah – (Hiphil) to make difficult, make difficulty; to make severe, make burdensome; to make hard, make stiff, make stubborn

This is the same word used to describe people who are “stiffnecked”.

(Pr 29:1 The Message) {1} For people who hate discipline and only get more stubborn, There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break, but by then it’ll be too late to help them.

(Pr 29:1 NLT) {1} Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be broken beyond repair.

This happened to the nation of Israel. God often warned them through the prophets to turn from their sin.

(Jer 19:15 KJV) Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.

And judgment would come in Jeremiah’s day.

Be careful not to disregard every criticism or warning people give you.


Glass Eye
There was this guy who owned a very fast motorcycle. His friends would always tell him, that because he only had one good eye (the other being a glass eye) that if he didn't slow down when he rides his motorcycle, hewould someday be involved in a serious accident. But the friends' warnings were to no avail. One day he did get into a terrible accident out on a lonely, rarely used stretch of highway. The driver and his passenger were both eye doctors. There was no one around when the accident happened. So one turned to the other and said, "He just seems to be knocked out cold." They checked the cyclist over and he seemed all right, except he had excessive damage to his eye. The driver then said to his friend, "Why don't we take him to our eye clinic, fix his eye, and then put him and the motorcycle back where the accident happened. We"ll put him near to a tree, so that no one will think that anyone else was involved in the accident." So they did just that. The next day, the local newspaper reported the accident. The headline read, "Mysterious Auto Accident Involving Cyclist with Two Glass Eyes."

How do you respond to criticism?

Have you heard the same criticism more than once, from more than one person? Is it something you should pay attention to?

:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

(Pr 29:2 The Message) {2} When good people run things, everyone is glad, but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.

:3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.

The unwise son spends his father’s wealth on prostitutes.

Sounds like the Prodigal Son.

(Luke 15:11-32 KJV) And he said, A certain man had two sons: {12} And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. {13} And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. {14} And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. {15} And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. {16} And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. {17} And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! {18} I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, {19} And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. {20} And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. {21} And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. {22} But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: {23} And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: {24} For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. {25} Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. {26} And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. {27} And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. {28} And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. {29} And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: {30} But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. {31} And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. {32} It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Even if you’ve spent your father’s wealth on prostitutes, you can come home again.
Coming home again “rejoiceth” your Father’s heart.
Don’t be like the elder son and resent those who have turned around.

:4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

receiveth gifts – takes bribes

A leader who is influenced by the “gifts” people offer him is on dangerous ground.

:5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

flatterethchalaq – to be smooth, slippery, deceitful; (Hiphil) to be smooth; to flatter

flattery vs. appreciation

It’s not always easy to tell the difference between the two because they may sound the same. But “flattery” has a deceptive bent to it.
A person who is being flattered can get “caught” in a trap.

:6 In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

snaremowqesh – bait, lure, snare

When an evil person commits sin, he’s always looking over his shoulder, waiting to get caught.

A righteous person doesn’t have to worry about such things.

:7 The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

(Pr 29:7 The Message) {7} The good-hearted understand what it’s like to be poor; the hardhearted haven’t the faintest idea.

:8 Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.

scornfullatsown – scorning, bragging; from luwts to scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly; to mock, deride

snarepuwach – (Hiphil) to cause to exhale or breathe; to excite, inflame

Scornful men fan the flames of trouble.

Wise men calm things down.

When arguments break out, do you fan the flames or calm things down?

:9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.

(Pr 29:9 NASB95) {9} When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

:10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.

bloodthirsty – literally, “men of blood”

(Pr 29:10 NLT) {10} The bloodthirsty hate the honest, but the upright seek out the honest.

:11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

mindruwach – wind, breath, mind, spirit

Some of the versions translate this as “anger” –

(Pr 29:11 NLT) {11} A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back.

I think it would be better to make it more “generic” and not just limit it to anger:

(Prov 29:11 NKJV) A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.
(Pr 29:11 The Message) {11} A fool lets it all hang out; a sage quietly mulls it over.

There’s wisdom in restraint.



A seaman meets a pirate in a Starbucks, and talk turns to their adventures on the sea. The seaman notes that the pirate has a peg-leg, a hook, and an eye patch. The seaman asks “So, how did you end up with the peg-leg?” The pirate replies “We were in a storm at sea, and I was swept overboard into a school of sharks. Just as my men were pulling me out, a shark bit my leg off” “Wow!” said the seaman. “What about your hook”? “Well...”, replied the pirate, “We were boarding an enemy ship and were battling the other sailors with swords. One of the enemy cut my hand off.” “Incredible!” remarked the seaman. “How did you get the eyepatch”? “A seagull dropping fell into my eye.”, replied the pirate. “You lost your eye to a seagull dropping?” the sailor asked incredulously. “Well...”, said the pirate, “ was my first day with the hook.”

If you don’t learn self-control, you can hurt yourself.

:12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

One idea: If a leader encourages lies by listening to them, it encourages everyone to lie to him.

Another idea: If you listen to everything people tell you, including the lies, then you’ll end up hating everyone, they’ll all become “wicked” because some people will lie and tell you stories to turn you against others.

:13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.

deceitfultakak – injury, oppression, oppressor

They have something in common. God gave life to them both.

:14 The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

The poor are those who can’t stick up for themselves. They can’t influence you with gifts. They can’t hire expensive lawyers. God promises to take care of leaders who make decisions fairly.

:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

There’s a commercial on TV about some Nanny show. The children are screaming and the parents are cringing. The announcer asks if there is any help for these parents and they bring in some super “Nanny” who is going to teach the parents how to handle their kids. Perhaps they ought to read their Bible.

Kids need discipline. They need limits.

Discipline gives wisdom. Discipline teaches self-control.

rodshebet – rod, staff, branch. The paddle, the idea of discipline that gets their attention.

reprooftowkechah – rebuke, correction, reproof, punishment, chastisement

Kids need both the rod and reproof. They need to know the consequences. They need to understand what they’ve done.

When a child isn’t disciplined, they’ve been left “to himself”. Kids don’t raise themselves. Parents raise kids.

:16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

are multipliedrabah – be or become great, be or become many, be or become much, be or become numerous

It might be talking about there being more wicked people. It makes more sense though when you think of wicked people gaining power and becoming “great”.

Yet in the end, God wins.

:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

restnuwach – (Hiph) to cause to rest, give rest to, make quiet

delightma‘adan – dainty (food), delight

(Pr 29:17 The Message) {17} Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did— they’ll turn out delightful to live with.

We often resist discipline because of the trouble it causes. It initially makes your child angry at you or resentful. It causes you anxiety to think that your kid isn’t pleased with you.

But you have to look past that. You have to look to the goal, the result of discipline.

:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

visionchazown – vision; vision (in ecstatic state); vision (in night); vision, oracle, prophecy (divine communication); vision (as title of book of prophecy)

In other words, it’s one of the ways that God would speak, by giving a prophet a “vision”. It’s not necessarily the idea of a leader who has direction, unless it’s a direction from God.

perishpara‘– (Niphal) to be let loose, be loosened of restraint (not the idea of perishing by going to hell)

(Pr 29:18 NLT) {18} When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.

Are you open to God leading you?

:19 A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

Children aren’t the only ones that need discipline.

(Pr 29:19 The Message) {19} It takes more than talk to keep workers in line; mere words go in one ear and out the other.

As a boss, you have to back up your words with action, just like with children.

When all a boss does is threaten his employees, but never follows through, then the threats get louder and louder, employees still don’t pay attention, and everyone is miserable.

:20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

This is similar to verse 11:

(Prov 29:11 KJV) A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

Learn to hold your words back at least a few seconds. Once you’ve said something, you can’t get it back.

:21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.

delicately bringeth uppanaq – (Piel) to indulge, pamper, bring up, treat delicately

become his sonmanown – grief, progeny, thankless one; meaning uncertain

The idea could be that if you pamper your servant, you might end up with him being a son to you, but you’ve lost a good worker.

Apparently this word is kind of obscure. Some translations have:

(Pr 29:21 NLT) {21} A servant who is pampered from childhood will later become a rebel.
The idea is that employees ought to be taught to be responsible, not pampered.

:22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

furious man – literally “lord” (Heb. baal) or “owner” of “wrath”.

I think that sometimes we tend to be extra nice to “lords of wrath”. We don’t want to get them angry with us. But we also ought to be careful what place we allow them to take in our lives. If you promote someone at work who has an anger problem, you’re going to have trouble.

:23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Pride is what makes you want to stand head and shoulders above everyone else. Yet it’s what will bring you down.

Humility causes you to exalt others ahead of you, but in the end you receive honor.

Pride is one of those things that God hates:

(Prov 6:16-17 KJV) These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: {17} A proud look …

Pride is something that God resists:

(James 4:6 KJV) But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Why does God hate pride?

Because it makes us think that we can get along without Him. It’s not that God has some need for us to want Him. It’s that we actually do need Him.

We may not think that we need to abide by the law of gravity, but we need to. If I choose to jump off of a ten story building, thinking that I don’t need to worry about the law of gravity, I’m in trouble.
An astronaut who thinks he doesn’t need his spacesuit is in for trouble.
We need God. We need to pay attention to His ways.

:24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

bewrayethnagad – (Hiphil) to tell, declare; to tell, announce, report

(Pr 29:24 The Message) {24} Befriend an outlaw and become an enemy to yourself. When the victims cry out, you’ll be included in their curses if you’re a coward to their cause in court.

:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

fearcharadah – fear, anxiety, quaking, trembling, (extreme) anxiety, anxious care

This is not the word for “reverence” (yare)

If people cause you to shake in your boots, then they’re going to control what you do.

It’s not easy to trust in the Lord during difficult circumstances. But it’s the best thing.

shall be safesagab – to be high, be inaccessibly high; (Pual) to be set (securely) on high

He puts you above the fears.

:26 Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.

People seek justice from those in control. Sometimes you get justice. Sometimes you don’t.

Ultimately, final justice comes from the Lord.

We seem to have an appetite in this country for big high-profile trials. In the end, nobody will get away with anything.

:27 An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

(Pr 29:27 The Message) {27} Good people can’t stand the sight of deliberate evil; the wicked can’t stand the sight of well-chosen goodness.